Climax Denial – Dehumanizing Environments CD Malignant Records 2015
Climax Denial are an American project whom I have only heard one early album – 2010’s ‘All My Loves Are Like Dreams’. Although not having revisited that album for a long while, at the time I remember giving it quite a few spins but without it really grabbing or engaging me in a positive way. So given this rather nondescript impression of the project (coupled with the large number of releases already issued since 2005), it sort of feels like I am checking out this group for the first time (…again). But after giving this new a proper and focused listen, frankly I am not sure where my mind was at previously given this album is a complex, controlled and highly engaging listen. Here 4 lengthy tracks are presented (between 9 and 14 minutes each), featuring forceful industrial drone-scapes to subdued power electronics, where on occasion Stratvm Terror is a perhaps a suitable marker of how this album straddles aspects of industrial and power electronics in a loose but controlled manner.
The opening track ‘The Womb as Vestibule’ is a clear display of the album’s approach, featuring some fierce and focused elements, without necessarily being all out aggressive (rumbling mechanical drones, shuddered textural layers, and tensely driving mid toned elements). The following piece ‘Fingering Dead Ashes As Evidence’ opts for differing sonic paths by sprawling out with an undercurrent of tensile sub-orchestral industrial drones, upon which more animated pulsing textures and atonal synth stabs etc. are laid. Here the varying elements interweave and overlap, building into to swirling maelstrom of malevolent atmospheres, shrill quasi-strings and anxiety inducing sonic tension (…a track par excellence). Moving away from a heavier sonic frame ‘Environments For Paranoid Necrotic Masturbation’ presents a creepy atmosphere of sustained orchestral string like drones and drawling confessional styled spoken lyrics (…although the piece does ratchet up the sonic tension with mid to higher pitched tonally piercing drones). For the final of the 4 tracks ‘Morning Following Dried Blood’ opts for a quite minimalist and reflective industrial drone-scape, where shimmering textures, tonal shards and throbbing elements generate an anxious mood, yet with its slow building intent it is quite loud and heavily animated by track’s end.
With its controlled pacing, and the impressions derived from song titles and artwork, there is a real feeling of a physiological narrative; somewhere between confessional and voyeuristic (…perhaps metaphorically described as a display of someone unburdening themselves via a confession, but equally reveling in the reaction the confession creates). So whilst sonically this album makes for a great listen, it also is embedded with a sense of a strong thematic undertone which provides an edge of being more than mere sound alone.